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A Gift for Guile

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Gift for Guile (2016) Alissa Johnson

Set in England in 1872

Esther Walker is the daughter of a famous thief and con artist. Although none of her family knows, she also helped her father, acting as his tiny thug, threatening people with the knives she was taught to throw. But the man everyone thinks was her father wasn’t really, so she wants to discover who that man really was.

Samuel Brass was called the Thief-Taker Almighty, after it was learned he’d been shot several times and survived. (Remember: Germ theory is unknown). When he discovers that Esther Walker is in London (despite the danger her recognition would cause to her sister and herself) he finds her and tries to send her back to the country.

“Why did you come to London?”

“I’ve already answered that.”

“No, you refused to answer.”

“No, my answer did not meet with your satisfaction, but that is your misfortune, not mine.”

I really really like Esther.

Esther did not appear to appreciate his oratory efforts.

“Heavens, I’d quite forgotten,” she drawled in a voice that could only be described as sweetly caustic. “Thank goodness you are here to remind me of all the little details of my life.”

God, she was infuriating. “Esther—”

“You’re rather like my very own talking diary.”

“I’ll not take orders from you.” She didn’t take orders from anyone. “You may give orders, if you like, but I’ll not promise to follow them.”

“Orders that don’t have to be followed are called suggestions,” he replied in a bland tone.

“Then I shall agree to take your suggestions under advisement.”

As with the previous book, Esther and Samuel labor under misapprehensions, but they are also somewhat broken people, which is how they were able to continue to misunderstand each others intentions.

But mostly I adore Esther.

She ignored the voice, long since accustomed to the fear that she wasn’t really wanted, wasn’t quite good enough for anyone. That fear had been at the heart of her determination to work with her father and her terrible need to seek out the approval of others. She’d been so desperate to prove the nasty little voice wrong.

Those days were past. She might not be able to rid herself of the old insecurity entirely, but she could choose how to respond to it, and she chose to acknowledge it and set it aside.

No one person’s good opinion should mean so much that another person should feel compelled to change who they are to obtain it.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rating: 8.5/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    



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